The SATIC Tourism Barometer survey for the September quarter of 2018 found that tourism operators remain optimistic with the Business Activity Index rising by 9% to 125 points and the Business Outlook Index up by 8% to 132 points. Both indices are well above the mid-point of 100[1].

When the sector indices are compared with the previous quarter, the Activity Index for the holiday / leisure sector was positive at 118 points and up by 10%.

Significant factors identified by members included increased demand from touring markets, including linkage with the Great Ocean Road, international visitors and contract workers in regional areas.

Efforts by operators to broaden their product offering and to improve their reach through digital marketing and social media were also providing positive outcomes.

Negatives for the industry were the dry conditions and publicity associated with the drought. Other factors included rising fuel prices, financial pressure on households and increased supply of accommodation.

It was suggested that there had been fewer large conferences in Adelaide during the quarter which may have been a factor in the decreased index for the conference / business meetings sector – down by 7%.

The outlook for the future was supported by a range of factors, including Chinese visitors and incentives, as well as regional infrastructure, including the Port Pirie sports precinct and The Bend race track.

The positive sentiment is reflected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force survey,[2] which showed that the number of persons employed in accommodation and food services in August 2018 had increased by 18% from August 2017 to 65,000. Full-time employment was up by 31% to 22,500, while part-time employment was up by 12% to 42,400.

Visitor demand in South Australia as reported by Tourism Research Australia (TRA) for 2017/18 also continues to strengthen with international visitation up by 7% from the previous year, interstate visitation up by 6% and intrastate visitation up by 5%[3].

TRA has also released the results of the Australian Accommodation Monitor for 2017/18, which shows that 3,836,000 room nights were sold in the last financial year, with room occupancy at 75.6% and revenue per room night of supply (RevPar) at $116.94.

Furthermore, results of TRA’s Australian Investment Monitor for 2017/18 are now available. The survey monitors the number and value of significant tourism projects in the investment pipeline. In South Australia there were 17 projects identified with a total project value of $2 billion.

SATIC Chief Executive Officer Shaun de Bruyn says, “the strengthening of industry sentiment demonstrated by the Barometer survey is consistent with other indicators, such as record demand and visitor expenditure, and it is pleasing to see this translating to jobs for South Australians.”

[1] An index above 100 indicates growth with more businesses experiencing an increase when compared to those experiencing contraction. An index below 100 indicates more businesses experienced weaker conditions.

[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics. Cat. 6291.0.55.003. Labour Force Australia, Detailed

[3] Tourism Research Australia.

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